An online discussion thread should be a hub of activity, capturing ideas, questions, and resources outside of the classroom. We’ve discussed in many a blog post strategies for engaging students and beefing up your online conversations in the classroom. But if you’ve yet to try a digital discussion component, here are three reasons why it’s worth giving them a go.
Connection is at the core of Chalkup’s beliefs, and online discussion capabilities are a big part of that.
We believe that using technology to keep students connected - and optimizing that experience for classes to work together on assignments - is how we get more out of classroom technology.
Online discussion comes into play here because it’s one of the best ways for students to keep working, learning, and ultimately connecting when they’re not in class together. Which is most of the day. If we expect all learning gains to take place only within that chunk of time your students see you in person, we’re kidding ourselves. What happens when a student has a question, or a new idea outside of class? What happens when it’s time to do homework and a student needs some extra help?
Very much in the same vein as connection, discussions are a unique collaboration opportunity. You can’t have a discussion alone. We encourage our users to think about project-based ideas and prompts that cater to exchanging and understanding new ideas. That’s what we want.
A big part of this is not only the technology you use to run online conversations or the prompts you pick. While these are important components, classroom culture plays a huge role in getting your digital conversations to be truly collaborative. Reinforcing an expectation of engagement. Getting students to lead the discussions. And making these safe spaces for the exchange of ideas. (We know, we could write a book on how to do just these things. A separate blog post, to be sure.)
Finally, digital discussions are kind of convenient; you can contribute from anywhere. (It’s really an offshoot of connection, but it’s more than that.)
Classroom technology that keeps your students engaged from whenever they are outside of class positions us to capture students when they have the best ideas or the most questions. It shouldn’t be difficult to reach out for help or present a new thought. When we make that process more convenient, we stand a chance to really keep classrooms engaged and learning from anywhere.